August 08, 2019
It is estimated that 380 tonnes of wetsuit waste is dumped every year. But one company has come up with a radical solution
The sustainable surfer: meet the team behind the worlds first fully recyclable wetsuit
Out the top of St Agnes, a steep village on Cornwall’s north coast, sits a small utopia. The disused mine stack at Wheal Kitty overlooks a group of warehouses reinventing local industry: there is the HQ of the pioneering marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage, its big green eye logo staring at zero-waste shop Incredible Bulk. Next door to that is Canteen, a community-minded cafe uniting local people over £5 meals and long trestle tables. Often they are ravenous from a surf or beach clean at Trevaunance Cove down the cliff, a hypersaturated blue on this scorcher of a summer’s day.
Then there are the offices and flagship store of Finisterre, an outdoor apparel company focused on sustainability and functionality. Tom Kay, who founded the business 15 years ago, meets me in the office breakout area. The place has the sweet, salty tang of surfboard wax, and Kay’s dog, Otis, roams around under employees’ desks. Finisterre’s aim, says Kay, part hippy, part focused businessman, is to connect people with the sea. “We believe that they experience better wellbeing, better health, better spirituality, mental space,” he says. Once a week at Finisterre, staff start an hour late so they can participate in Sea Tuesday – getting wet in whatever way floats their boat, board or body. “Hopefully, there comes with that a guardianship, realising the importance of looking after the sea.”
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